Google’s ordeal in Iran

While Google’s YouTube service has been censored in Iran since 2009, now Google suffered an even harder blow in the guts (figuratively speaking). The latest news has it that Google search and Gmail have been censored in Iran. As if that weren’t enough besides the firewall that blocks Iranians from accessing a lot of Western sites. Now they have Google severely censored.

Some people think that this act of censorship might be related to the protests that have been rumbling across the Muslim world for quite some time now. The protests were instigated by an anti-Islamic movie posted on YouTube. An adviser to Iran’s public prosecutor’s office Abdul Samad Khoramabadi has announced on Sunday that “Google and Gmail will be filtered nationwide, and will remain filtered until further notice.” Iranian authorities proved that they know how to use services provided by the latest technologies, because this announcement has also been sent out to mobile phones as a text message.

It has been reported that Google services with a secure SSL cannot be accessed in Iran while the unsecured version of the search engine is still available. Users have to use VPNs (virtual private networks) to access Gmail accounts. Although many Iranians are already adept at using VPNs to bypass government firewalls in order to access Western websites.

Actually, this new ban on Google just shows how serious the Iran government is in implementing the so-called Intranet project – a nationwide network that has its inside and outside traffic controlled. But with every schoolchild in Iran knowing how to use VNPs, I wonder whether it is really possible successfully Internet in Iran. China also had an Intranet idea, but it was abandoned afterwards, because it is impossible to simply block foreign Internet traffic just like that.


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